At StoreHub, we’re constantly looking for ways to automate the way we do things.
When we first started out, we knew an area that will pose a major issue is managing subscription billing.
There were some solutions out there that did ‘recurring billing’ like ipay88 and paypal but the problem with those is that these are services focused on the payment side of the equation and do not help you to manage the actual subscription of the customer. For most SAAS businesses, this wouldn’t be sufficient as there are too many complexities and situations which these solutions won’t solve.
Imagine using excel trying to keep track of who has subscribed, when they subscribed, whether they’ve paid or not.
Or collecting cheques on a monthly basis from the customer.
That would have been a living nightmare.
Bank transfers was not an option as well. There was no way I was going to try to match every single transaction in my bank statement to a customer especially when I know how people NEVER specify the reference correctly. They always put your company name instead of theirs…..
Here are some of the issues:
- Dunning – When the credit card fails because of insufficient credit, expired expiry date, banks being annoying. We wanted a system that would automatically send the customer emails and retry up to X amount of times before automatically suspending their service.
- Prorata/Upgrades/Downgrades/Free trials – If someone’s on a small plan and upgrades to a medium plan halfway during the billing period, we needed to be able to automatically calculate how much credit they have left and deduct that from their new total.
- Storing credit card numbers – Doing this ourselves will be a nightmare, and maintaining that PCI DSS compliant environment. The liability is just too big.
Anyways, enough ranting about the problems.
You guys are here for the solution right?
As you may know, there are plenty of recurring billing/subscription billing management solutions out there. Recurly, Chargify, Spreedly, Chargebee. But the common problem amongst all of them is that they don’t integrate with ANY local payment gateways. Yes, we did talk to iPay88 about this but as usual, talk remained talk and no solution was ever even considered.
So we ended up setting up an Australian bank account, connected to Braintree which integrates with Chargebee.
We love Chargebee. Like Really.
The only problem with this solution is that we lost 7% of our revenue on the forex every time we transferred the money back to Malaysia.
Then one fine day two months ago, Braintree announced their availability in Malaysia, facilitated by their local partner First Data MS.
The beautiful part of it all? They integrate with Chargebee.
So there you have it folks. Finally, a solution for all us SAAS Startups in Malaysia.
Disclaimer: The chargebee links above have a referral code in them. If you found this information useful, I’d appreciate you signing up to chargebee via the link above. Otherwise, I’m happy to have shared anyways. All the best folks!
UPDATE 23/12/2015: I’ve just been told that Chargebee are offering a BOOTSTRAPPER plan that lets SaaS startups process up to $10k of invoices for free! So why wait, get started for free with Chargebee and then pay only when they make money.